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Monday, March 20, 2017

Neither Empty Nor Unknown: Montana at the Time of Lewis and Clark Lesson Plan

I'm delighted to share that we have a new lesson plan focused on traditional lifeways of Montana Indians: the "Neither Empty nor Unknown: Montana at the Time of Lewis and Clark Lesson Plan." Targeted for grades 4-7 (but adaptable to other grades), the lesson plan is designed to complement a tour of our "Neither Empty nor Unknown" exhibit: "Learning through Stories." (Find information about scheduling tours here.) 

However, for those (because of distance or for other reasons) who are unable to bring their class to tour the exhibit, the lesson plan offers instructions for modifying the lesson and a "virtual tour" via PowerPoint and script. In essence, the lesson plan brings the exhibit to you (though it's not as good as coming to the museum, of course.)

So--what's in this lesson: 

1. A pre-tour PowerPoint lesson that provides students with essential background information on Montana’s tribes around the year 1800. 
2. A tour (virtual or actual) that  asks for active student participation and uses indigenous peoples’ stories and personal narratives to complement the exhibit.
3. Two post-tour lessons--one on horses and society and the other on indigenous worldviews--that offer students a chance to expand on what they have learned.
4. Questions for a summative class discussion that enables students to put all the pieces together.

Independent historian and curriculum developer Laura Ferguson created this lesson for us. (Laura s also the author of several other of our lessons, including "Montana Women at Work: Clothesline Timeline Lesson Plan," "Biographical Poems Celebrating Amazing Montana Women Lesson Plan," and "Montana's Landless Indians and the Assimilation Era of Federal Indian Policy: A Case of Contradiction," and once again she's outdone herself. My favorite thing about this lesson is the inclusion of stories. Laura has found great short accounts to illuminate what life was like especially for children. Since most of the excerpts are taken from Plenty Coups and Pretty Shield, the Crow feature prominently, but she's also included a Blackfeet story, "The First Buffalo Stone," and in the post-tour lessons, two Salish stories: "Fallen-From-The-Sky’s Vision Quest" and "The Story of Pretty Flower."

I look forward to hearing what you think of these new lessons and tour. So after you visit (or take your class on the virtual tour), let me know what you think.

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